Fri, Sep 21, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Nationals fail to bag playoff spot

THWARTED:Matt Kemp hit the go-ahead homer as the Dodgers beat the Nationals 7-6 to split their doubleheader and prevent the hosts from securing a playoff berth

AP, WASHINGTON

Washington Nationals pitcher Wang Chien-ming of Taiwan pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning of Game 2 of their National League doubleheader in Washington on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

MAJOR LEAGUES

The Los Angeles Dodgers split a doubleheader to prevent the Washington Nationals wrapping up an early playoff berth in the National League on Wednesday.

Matt Kemp scored a run early, then hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning — right after Washington rallied with a six-run eighth — as the struggling Dodgers beat the Nationals 7-6 in the second game of the doubleheader.

Kemp was credited with crossing home to give Los Angeles a 6-0 lead in the fourth, even though TV replays showed the inning’s last out already had been recorded on third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s head-over-heels, reaching tag of runner Adrian Gonzalez.

That extra run loomed large when Washington — who won the opener 3-1 thanks largely to Jordan Zimmermann’s six innings of one-run pitching — wound up sending 12 batters to the plate while scoring six runs in the eighth.

Michael Morse had a homer and a two-run single as Washington chased Josh Beckett, who had allowed only two hits through seven innings.

Kris Medlen allowed four hits over eight innings to win his 21st straight start for the Braves in Atlanta’s 3-0 win over the Miami Marlins.

After losing the first two starts of his career in 2009, Medlen (9-1) has not taken a loss in any of his 26 starts since, with the Braves winning in the last 21 of those — making them the first team since the New York Yankees to have such a streak, according to STATS LLC.

The Yankees won 22 straight times when Whitey Ford started games from 1950 through 1953, a span interrupted by Ford serving in the Korean War.

Philadelphia kept their slim playoff hopes alive after Ryan Howard hit a go-ahead homer with two outs in the ninth inning as the Phillies rallied for a dramatic 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.

Baltimore got a huge boost in their race with the New York Yankees for the lead in the American League East when Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning as the Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1 for their 15th straight extra-innings game.

Even with New York sweeping a doubleheader from Toronto earlier, the Orioles stayed just a half-game back in the division race. The Orioles moved into the top spot in the American League wild-card race after Oakland were handed a 6-2 loss in Detroit.

According to the Orioles, with information from the Elias Sports Bureau, their 15 straight extra-inning wins is the longest streak since the Cleveland Indians won 17 straight in 1949.

Ichiro Suzuki had a go-ahead single in the eighth inning, his seventh hit of the day, to help New York win both games against Toronto — 4-2 and 2-1.

Suzuki made a difficult catch with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of the opener to preserve a lead for Andy Pettitte.

Suzuki had three hits in the opener batting leadoff in place of Derek Jeter, who rested his sore ankle in the first game of the day-night doubleheader. Jeter started at shortstop for the first time in a week and got his 200th hit on Ricky Romero’s first pitch.

Elsewhere, Desmond Jennings hit a two-run triple during Tampa Bay’s seven-run sixth inning as the Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 13-3 to snap a four-game losing streak.

The Minnesota Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 6-4, the Kansas City Royals blanked the Chicago White Sox 3-0 and the Texas Rangers downed the Los Angeles Angels 6-2.

In the National League, Marco Estrada pitched seven scoreless innings, while rookie shortstop Jean Segura hit a double and triple as the surging Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 to stay in contention for a post-season berth.

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